Training a horse to jump.
I have a 5 y/o palomino that I am wanting to get into jumping with. I have been conditioning him for it with lots of trotting poles and cavaletties.
Any tips on how to get him started or what to do next?
Also, I'm putting a runing martingle on him to help his headset. Can you jump with these on at all? at shows?
Re: Training a horse to jump.
As for the martingale, if you aren't an experienced jumper I'd stay away from it for now - some horses are very unpredictable while jumping for the first little while and if you aren't expecting the jump, you can very easily pop her in the mouth, and a martingale just kind of compounds that.
Once you get the hang of it, you can most certainly jump in a running martingale - but you can't show in anything but jumpers with one on.
With my horse, I start very low with a 1'3" X and I have to walk her over it quite a few times before I acually jump it. And I have only trotted jumps so far. I haven't been jumping her in a long time because of the snow but when it melts I will have to get her back into shape all over again :(
Don't go to high too fast. I would stay pretty low and get very strong over that then start raising the bar.
Oh by the way, some horses, including mine, jump around and buck and such before and after the jump. I have been told not to discipline it because they are just getting excited.
I will start very slow, I've been doing trotting poles for the last 3 months now and little X's . (just walking and trotting). He's still very green so I plan to have him very well trained before going any further! :)
I would definately start off slow and small and let him get very comfortable with what he's doing before moving up. Sounds like you're doing a great job setting him up to jump well! This is just me, but I wouldn't jump him with a running martingale. You can jump in one and you can use one if you show in the jumpers (and only jumpers) but I wouldn't recommend one for a horse learning to jump. A running martingale shouldn't be used for head set, it's more for extra control if a horse throws his head up and runs, and that's about it. While a horse is learning to jump you don't want to do anything that will restrict his movement. In fact, I wouldn't worry about headset at all except on the flat. He's going to flop over and do funny things with his head and neck and legs and you just have to let him until he figures out where to put his body! You want to let him have his head and keep from hitting him in the mouth or back, basically just get out of his way and sit there!
I think cantering over poles is great because he doesn't have any height to worry about. So he can mess up where he puts his legs and it doesn't matter, but after a while he'll realize where the best place is to place the pole between his legs, if that makes sense! He may already be doing this! Cantering poles is something you can do every day, even when he's well into jumping courses. Next I'd set up a small crossbar and trot into it. Just get up into a 2 point/half seat, grab mane, and stay centered over the middle of him. Put just enough leg to get him over it. He may try to dodge left or right so just keep his nose pointed straight. After he goes over pat him and try again. If he trots over and keeps trotting after I'd ask for a canter as soon as he lands. 1. it'll make him actually jump it instead of thinking it's an elevated trot pole and 2. it'll teach him to stay forward after the fence instead of just dying down. This is important for when you're jumping courses! You always want your horse to have forward energy (NOT fast, just ready to go!) and always looking for the next fence. I like to jump a series of singles fairly early on (trotting into each) just so they will start to expect to keep going and start looking for where you want them to jump next. When he's comfortable trotting, start cantering in, with the expectation that he's going to probably miss. Again, just sit there, grab mane, and point him straight! Believe it or not, but horses DO learn to find their own distances! Some people believe you should always set your horse up for the right distance, but my theory is, not every person can see a distance, and if your horse can only get the right distance when you tell him to, he's going to be a much harder horse to ride! Once a horse gets to be fairly comfortable trotting and cantering into singles, I start on lines, and then eventually gymnastics. I'm also a huge fan of gymnastics as I believe that they are one of the best ways to teach a horse to use their body properly over fences. So basically, keep it easy, keep him happy, and you should be great!
Re: Training a horse to jump.
I agree with this stament exactly
i love teaching horses to jump, because when i taught my horse to jump he was a madden.
anyways: good that he is going over poles, make them into canter poles and then raised trot and canter poles.
then put wings in slowly and have a pole on the floor.
carry on with that for a few weeks and make sure the horse is ok with it.
then put a small cross up and slowly build it up, and then when you introduce another jump just have a pole on the floor and the wings next to it.
but make sure your horse had good straightness and balance before jumping as this really does help.
And a good, experineced trainer would be useful on higher jumps. You may start small X-s with him but when you want to go higher, you will need a trainer unless you are a very experienced rider. Both my husband and I have trainer in spite of that he has been showjumping in competitions for years. A trainer is always good.
One your horse begins to get comfortable jumping crossrails and small verticals, it's really really helpful to use gymnastic exercises. They can start off small for a green horse, a cross rail and some small verticals with no more than 1 or 2 strides in between. Always build them up one element at a time. When you go through a gymnastic, you stay still and balanced over the center of your horse. This allows him to figure out his own stride and take-off spots, regulates speed, and encourages proper form over fences. It's also a great exercise for rider balance and position!
I do agree to work slow-I am not going to push that out of the way whatsoever.
But I have to say, I am training my saddlebred to jump (he is 23 but talented and spirited-nice physical condition as well) and he did poles for about idk a week and was ready to move up to actually more than one pole on the ground. (To space him out) and when the big day came to canter him over the jumps, he jumped one! So now, after a week, he can do small verticals and X's. However, due to him swerving before we jump I am keeping him on these X's, when the verticals seem to sometimes be fine.
It really depends. :)
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